Geoffrion 4th generation to play in NHL
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have tapped into one of the NHL's legendary families, signing the grandson of Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion to an entry-level contract.
Blake Geoffrion signed his deal Tuesday at the elementary school he attended in Nashville, making him the fourth generation in his family set to play in the league.
Geoffrion helped lead Wisconsin to the NCAA title game, and he also won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player. His great-grandfather, Howie Morenz, and grandfather are both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame having helped the Montreal Canadiens to a combined nine Stanley Cups. His father, Danny, also played in the NHL.
The Predators drafted Geoffrion in the second round back in 2006.
"Anybody can play one game in the NHL, but what we're looking for here is a career, and that's what Blake wants," general manager David Poile said.
Poile worked as an administrative assistant with the then-Atlanta Flames when Geoffrion's grandfather coached the team, and he started off the news conference showing off a photo of that team. Poile called that his true college education.
"This is just a special day for hockey in Nashville," Poile said.
Geoffrion signed his deal with his father next to him and family filling the audience in the library along with some of his old teachers. Behind him hung the jerseys he wore from his time in the Nashville Youth Hockey League to college and now with the Predators.
Also on display was a huge framed collection of pictures, tickets and memorabilia. His great-grandfather was known as "The Mitchell Meteor" and was one of the original inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945. His grandfather is credited with inventing the slapshot and was just the second to score 50 NHL goals.
Geoffrion was given a Predators' jersey with the No. 5 for the news conference, the same number his grandfather wore. The Canadiens retired that number on March 11, 2006 -- the day he died. With his grandmother, Marlene Geoffrion, sitting in the front row, Geoffrion got a bit emotional when asked what advice 'Boom Boom' gave him.
"Shoot the puck to score the goal," Geoffrion said to laughs. "That was it. And stay in school and take care of your family are the three things he always told me."
This is a milestone for the Predators, a franchise that started play in 1998. Geoffrion grew up in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood and remembers vividly watching the team's first hat trick from section 306.
He dreamed of playing either in the red and blue of the Canadiens or his hometown Predators. Geoffrion said he understands the challenge he now faces to start off with Nashville's American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee, where he went once Wisconsin's season ended.
"There's still a long ways to go," he said.
But his father had to hold back some tears of his own, celebrating a day that had been years in the making.
"I know that my dad would be very proud of Blake," Danny Geoffrion said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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